Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus (2004) – reviewed by George

When I sat down to watch this I was a little afraid that, after 7 other Christmas romances, I had maybe burned out on the genre. But actually the casting caught me right away. Steve Guttenberg is Nick, the thirtyish first-born son of Santa, about to have to take over, but he must be married. Ernst (Armin Shimerman), the North Pole CEO or something, has prepared a list of women possessing the right qualities for a new Mrs. Claus, but Nick wants a spark, not a list of women who appeal to Ernst. So he leaves the North Pole for North America and meets Beth (Crystal Bernard) who works in advertising. Nick is attracted to her, and ends up making a commercial for her. She turns out to be the widowed mother of a seven-year-old boy, Jake (Dominic Scott Kay), who believes in Santa, while Beth emphatically does not. At the age of eight she wrote Santa a letter and left it with the cookies and milk. When Santa read the letter he said, “I’m afraid I don’t have that in my bag!” Turns out she was asking that her father come home to her.
Nick checks out the women on Ernst’s list, but no spark, and he really likes Beth, so he keeps returning to her. He wants to take his time and let her get to know him, despite Ernst’s (Ernst has followed him) constant harping on how time is passing.
Nick works some really sweet magic; when he reads to an English as a Second Language class of children, each child hears the story in his or her own language. And he tells Beth, “Making you happy is the greatest feeling in the world.”
With courtship going slowly Nick has to face the facts: he only has a brief time left to find a wife, or else he can’t take the sleigh and do the deliveries – his father will have to do one more year. And that seems inevitable, because he isn’t going to give up on Beth.
As time rushes on, and Beth has to work longer and longer hours for her martinet of a boss (Thomas Calabro), Nick takes over watching out for Jake and gives him some tips on basketball, and they generally bond. But Beth, whom Nick has really come to love, is a much harder sell. Especially when he finally tells he who he is. She is furious because she was getting serious, and now she finds out he’s crazy. Then Nick leaves on Christmas Eve, despite that fact that Dad will drive the sleigh, but of course the story is not over.
The movie is a little goofy, a bit over the top, but the charm of the principals (and of John Wheeler and Marcia Ann Burrs as Santa and Mrs. Claus) and of the script and of the score by Mark Watters (marked by the very subtle use of bits of carols plus some original themes) carries you right on through to a happy ending. Written by Pamela Wallace and directed by Harvey Frost, it is not a particularly emotional film, but it is funny and sweet, and you definitely root for Nick and Beth. I’m so glad that I went ahead and watched it.

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